It’s been a strange few weeks for Deshaun Watson.
The Cleveland Browns quarterback missed two games with a shoulder injury before returning in Week 7 to play 12 snaps and leave after aggravating a shoulder injury. He then missed the Week 8 game.
Watson’s willingness to take the field has been questioned since his entire $240 million contract is guaranteed, an unprecedented deal in the NFL.
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But the Browns have listed Watson as active for Sunday’s game against the Arizona Cardinals.
It looked like Watson was injured at the worst possible time. He struggled in his first two games, throwing for just 389 yards while completing 55.1 percent of his passes. But in Week 3 against the Tennessee Titans, he looked like vintage Watson as he threw for 289 yards and two touchdowns on 27-for-33 passing.
Watson then missed Week 4, had a bye in Week 5 and missed Week 6 before returning for his brief Week 7 stint.
The quarterback claimed critics were trying to create “controversy and turmoil” by questioning whether he really wanted to play.
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“Why wouldn’t I want to play?” Watson said last week. “I just worked for two years to get back into the game, so why wouldn’t I want to play?”
Watson sat out 2021 amid sexual assault allegations and was suspended 11 games in 2022 because of those allegations.
“I’ve been doing this since I was 6 years old. So, why wouldn’t I want to play? I see the same thing. I see all the narratives — this, that and the third. All these things are just trying to cause controversy and ruckus.
“I’m fine, I’m happy. I’m not happy with the injury… (But) why would I do this? None of these nationals know me. They don’t talk to me. This is all Speculation. If it doesn’t come from me, then all these other — are bulls—.”
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Cleveland is 4-3 in a tight AFC North. All four teams in the division are over .500.